by Patrick Cardwell, Pastoral Ministry Intern
(Patrick shared this “Faith Story” during worship on February 1)
Today as I was making my weekly visits to our homebound members, I looked at the list that Kate Kitchen had given me, and decided to stop by and see Marggie Samuel. When I got there, Ms. Samuel welcomed me in and offered me a chair, and we sat and talked for some time about her history at the church and her family, where she grew up, and how much she loved bookkeeping. She seemed particularly fond of remembering how she used to teach and watch over the children of FBC Greensboro, before becoming more involved in her own Sunday school class.
Before I left, I asked if I could pray with her and read scripture. She smiled and nodded, and I turned to the lectionary reading for this past week from 1 Samuel 3:1-20. As I began to read, I noticed how Eli was described in the text as one whose eyesight had begun to fade. After many years in service to the Lord, Eli was struggling to see, indicating that Eli was probably in his later years. As the story goes along, Samuel hears his name being called, and thinks it is Eli, when it is in fact the Lord. Now Eli may not have been able to see, but his ears must have been sharp, along with a spirit still attune to God’s, for it was Eli who told Samuel that it was the Lord who was calling him. It was Eli who recognized God’s voice calling the boy’s name. Without Eli’s guidance and discernment of the Lord’s voice, Samuel may not have been able to recognize and respond to the voice of God.
Like Eli, Ms. Samuel (an appropriate name for the passage!) pointed many children to the voice of God in her time at FBC Greensboro. How many children were able to hear God’s voice calling them by name because of Ms. Samuel’s leadership and guidance? How many of those children continue to hear the voice of God because of the commitment of one eager servant? So as we go about our weeks, may we all remember to be thankful for those who have helped us listen for the voice of God beckoning through the stillness of the night. Thanks be to God for the Eli’s, the Marggie Samuel’s, and so many other witnesses who have gone before us with perceptive ears and faithful hearts, always listening for the voice of the Lord calling those who would hear.